By Todd Rossi and Mark Mese

Almost everyone knows insurance policies provide a defense and indemnity for insureds, if the terms and conditions of the insurance policy are met. Insureds include named insureds, other insureds (as defined by the policy) or additional insureds as provided by endorsement. However, insurance policies may also provide payment and defense to others who are not insureds under the policies.

Most liability policies provide coverage to the insureds for liability when the insureds have contractually agreed to provide indemnity and/or defense to or party to a contract. A typical example of contractual indemnity coverage can be found in a construction contract to supply labor and materials related to electrical wiring in the construction of a home, office, pipeline or oil rig.

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By Esteban Herrera, Jr.

Even for a “small company,” the failure to comply with discovery obligations to preserve electronically stored information (ESI) can be dangerous.  The case of Perez v. Vezer Industrial Professionals, Inc. 2011 WL 5975854 (E.D. Cal. 2011) involved a truck accident, but the lawsuit quickly reached the point where the plaintiff

By J. Eric Lockridge and Glenn M. Farnet

Louisiana protects corporate directors and officers from liability to shareholders or others when they make decisions in good faith and reasonably believe that their decisions are in the best interest of the organization. This principal, called the “business judgment rule,” gives officers and directors the freedom to

Kean Miller LLP is pleased to announce the release of the ninth edition of the Practical Digest of Louisiana Class Action Decisions.  The digest is produced by Charles S. McCowan, Jr., Bradley C. Myers, Gerald E. Meunier (Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer), and Thomas F. Daley (District Attorney of the 40th Judicial

By Katie D. Bell

In The Pension Committee of the University of Montreal Pension Plan, et al. v. Banc of America Securities LLC, et al., 685 F.Supp.2d 456 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), Judge Scheindlin—author of the renowned Zubulake decisions—further develops the boundaries of discovery duties in a lengthy opinion. Although the opinion does not require parties to meet a standard of perfection during discovery, the opinion serves as an important guide that offers concrete rules and potentially burdensome standards that attorneys should heed to avoid sanction.

Writing systematically, Scheindlin initially frames the fundamental concepts underlying the nature and scope of a party’s duty to preserve, collect, review, and produce requested records during discovery:

The first [critical issue] is plaintiffs’ level of culpability-that is, was their conduct of discovery acceptable or was it negligent, grossly negligent, or willful. The second is the interplay between the duty to preserve evidence and the spoliation of evidence. The third is which party should bear the burden of proving that evidence has been lost or destroyed and the consequences resulting from that loss. And the fourth is the appropriate remedy for the harm caused by the spoliation. (1)

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By Terry D. McCay and Benn Vincent

Picture this: former wife sues her ex-husband for cutting and selling timber from a co-owned 120-acre timberland tract. The timberland tract was purchased during the couple’s marriage and was community property. As part of a divorce settlement, the ex-couple remained co-owners of the timberland. Thereafter, the ex-husband had the timber cut and sold – and checks for the timber sold were made payable to the then girlfriend (now wife) of the ex-husband. When the former wife found out, she sued the ex-husband, seeking treble damages (among other things), under Louisiana’s so-called “timber piracy” statute.

As a co-owner, is the ex-husband liable to his former wife under Louisiana’s “timber piracy” statute? This was the issue presented to the Louisiana Supreme Court in the case, Sullivan v. Wallace, 2010-0388 (La. 11/30/10), 51 So.3d 702. The Court concluded that he was not, because the “timber piracy” statute did not apply to suits between co-owners.

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Maritime attachment is a powerful procedure that allows an aggrieved party to garnish any of the defendant’s property located within a particular federal judicial district.  Attachment is especially powerful because the garnished property can be used to ensure satisfaction of a claim, even if the property within the judicial district is not related to the claim that has been filed there.  This right can prove invaluable for securing payment of claims from a foreign defendant who cannot be easily traced down and sued.  This particular species of attachment is unique to admiralty law and is only available to satisfy "admiralty" or "maritime" claims, including contractual obligations that are separable from an non-maritime aspects of a contract. 

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By Matthew C. Meiners

The application of corporate veil piercing theories to limited liability companies is still in its early stages in Louisiana jurisprudence. In Hollowell v. Orleans Regional Hosp. LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit became the first court applying Louisiana law to pierce the veil of a Louisiana limited liability company on an “alter ego basis,” adopting from corporate veil piercing jurisprudence a non-exhaustive list of factors, namely: 1) commingling of corporate and shareholder funds; 2) failure to follow statutory formalities for incorporating and transacting corporate affairs; 3) undercapitalization; 4) failure to provide separate bank accounts and bookkeeping records; and 5) failure to hold regular shareholder and director meetings. 217 F.3d 379, 385-386 (5th Cir. 7/18/00); citing Riggins v. Dixie Shoring Co., 590 So.2d 1164, 1168 (La. 1991). The court emphasized that the inquiry is in fact a “totality of the circumstances” test, and “courts are not limited to these five factors when invoking the alter ego doctrine.” Id., at 387, citing Riggins, at 1168.

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By David K. Nelson

In an arbitration, the parties agree to hire one or more neutral third parties to hear the dispute and issue a ruling.  The parties further agree to abide by that ruling.  If one party fails to do so, the ruling can be enforced by a court of law just as if an actual judgment had been entered.  Some suggest the process is less costly and more efficient than litigation; however, significant rights can be lost under the guise of so called legal efficiency.

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